Bad bosses cause driver turnover. From the drivers’ perspective, the boss can be the dispatcher, driver manager, safety director, operations manager, and in small companies, the owner. Regardless of position or title, a bad boss can destroy your chances of ever creating a driver-centric culture.
This article summarizing a Gallup poll showed that bad bosses were the number one reason workers in any profession leave their jobs. In fact, a full 75 percent of those polled listed “bad boss” as their number one reason for making a change! That’s worth thinking about. The article described four types of bad bosses. Be on the lookout for these types in your business and do not tolerate them. They are toxic and will hurt your business.
1. The Marionette
Marionette bosses blindly follow orders from above. They do what their superior tells them to do. There’s nothing wrong with a chain of command or even doing what you’re told. But sometimes you have to buck the system. Sometimes you need to take a stand for your drivers. Front line managers, dispatchers and supervisors may hand out the work and occasionally dole out the discipline, but they also must be driver advocates. If you don’t take a stand and challenge bad company policy when it is hurting your drivers, you aren’t a good boss.
2. King Kong
King Kong bosses lose their heads when they are first given the authority of supervision. On the opposite end of the spectrum of the Marionette, there is such a thing as too much authority. Working with drivers is a two-way street; a boss is not a king. If a manager puts himself above everyone else, it ruins the vital relationships with drivers or other subordinates. If you’re not approachable, you’ll never get an opportunity to earn a driver’s trust and respect. Drivers who don’t trust and respect you leave.
This is a boss who positions himself as the center of everything. Every decision, every assignment, every matter - revolves around HIM. He tries to control every little thing, ignores feedback and suggestions, and only sees the world through his own eyes. These types of bosses often sink companies because problems develop outside their orbit of attention. Even if they are a rock star, it’s not a scalable model. You can only be at one place, at one time, doing one thing. Conversely, if you’ve developed a five-person team that follows your process even when you’re not there, you’re getting five times the production.
4. The Taskmaster
The Taskmaster works his employees to death and constantly micromanages. These individuals tend to forget that their employees are people with a life outside the company. A taskmaster is so focused on production, metrics, KPIs, or profits that he never takes time to consider the people that make those things possible. It’s possible to have high expectations for work and let your employees have the same high expectations for their personal lives. It’s called work/life balance.
No one wants to be a bad boss. No one gets up in the morning thinking they are a bad boss.
Those who are bad, just don’t know any better. Chances are, they were really good in their last position before they got promoted. It used to be known as the Peter principle. People get promoted higher and higher until they are in a role where they are incompetent. Your job as the leader is to set expectations and show them what good looks like.
Lead by example. Don’t fall into the categories described above. Your subordinates will follow your lead. They’ll treat your drivers like you treat them. Use the same templates you use to set expectations and track monthly goals with drivers as you do with your front-line supervisors and managers. While the metrics may vary, using the same process shows that you’re all on the same team:
Following this process, removes any doubt. They’re either hitting the goals they created and agreed upon or they’re not.
Good leadership starts at the top, so make sure your company has the right bosses who care for and work for their employees. It’s called servant leadership and it works. Try these and some of the other strategies you can find in our e-book to improve driver retention.
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